Running Lecture @ Wyeth, Phils.

Chito Carreon, a passionate ultrarunner and “veteran” of BDM 102K Ultramarathon Race and one of the executives of Wyeth, Philippines, invited me for a Running Lecture/Clinic to interested officers, staff and employees of the company on the first week of October 2010 at their corporate office in Makati City.

The lecture was conducted at 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM in the presence of almost 30 participants. The activity started with a lecture on the Basics and Principles of Running. After the lecture presentation, the participants were encouraged to join the members of the Elite Team Bald Runner on the practical side of running. Demonstration on the warm-up and stretching exercises which are done before and after running workouts were done by the participants. After the demonstrations, “running drills” were also performed by everybody. An Open Forum was conducted to answer the questions/concerns of the participants.

Mr Carreon was kind and generous to present to the members of the team with gifts, running shoes for my Project Donate A Shoe, vitamins and other products of the company, certificates and “giveaways” before we finally ended the activity. Thanks to Chito Carreon and to Wyeth, Philippines. Such gifts are in the “need-list” of my elite athletes.

Lecture Introduction From Ultrarunner Chito Carreon
BR's Lecture On Running Basics & Principles
"Future" Members of the Wyeth Running Club
Practical Demonstration Of Stretching Exercises
Group Picture After The Lecture/Clinic

1st Cebu Ultramarathon Race

1. Six weeks before I retired from the military service, I visited the exact place where former President Ramon Magsaysay’s plane crashed on the early morning of March 17, 1957. If you don’t know your history, you can search “Mt Manunggal” in my blog and read my story about this visit to the said place.

2. Being the Bald Runner after retirement from the service, I had plans of visiting again to this place and thought of coming up with road/trail race to commemorate the death of our former President Magsaysay as I wanted my runs to be connected with the history of our country. In one of our conversations with my friend Jonel Mendoza, he asked me a place where a good ultra run route in Cebu which can be used in the future and I answered him that Mt Manunggal Crash Site would be highly recommended because of its significance in our history. And the rest is history.

Starting Area of the Race

3. Since I don’t announce in my blog where my next race is, the Race Organizers were surprised to see me in Cebu/Ayala Center on the night before the race. I was given the opportunity by Jonel aka FrontRunner Magazine to speak before the runners on their magazine’s running clinic. It was a nice experience seeing a lot of runners from Cebu City during the said clinic. It really shows that the running community in cities outside Metro Manila is growing in numbers by “leaps and bounds”.

4. Most of the runners in the 1st Cebu Ultramarathon Race were already at the assembly area at 4:00 AM as most of them “camped” in the area. I could see different moods on the faces of the runners which is very common among runners who are about to experience their first ultramarathon run. I was able to see some of the “usual suspects” in ultra runs in Luzon and I had a brief chat with them. I know, most of them came here to challenge the route. However, I came here to test and evaluate my training.

5. After a short program and photo-ops at the “bust monument” of President Magsaysay, the race started at 5:52 AM with 180+ starters. The faster and “excited” runners went ahead from the rest of the group as they forced themselves to attack the uphill climbs and downhill parts of the route that goes to the National Highway. I think I was on the last half of the whole group of starters on the first 3 kilometers of the run.

6. In a very challenging route which has steep uphills and fast downhills, the race strategy in an ultra run (50K and above) is to be able to apply “brisk walking” on the uphills, fast recovery run on the downhills, and steady run on the plain parts of the route. So, in most parts of the route, I consistently applied this strategy making sure that I hydrate myself regularly (every 2-3K) and eat solid foods every 5 -7 kilometers. My solid foods consisted of Nature Valley Sports Bar, fresh banana, fresh apple, Cloud 9 Chocolate Bites, and boiled sweet corn (bought along the way). I think most of the runners that I passed on the uphills were able to see me with my “brisk walking” form! I am highly recommending that “form” as I learned it from my experience at the Marin Headlands 50-Mile Trail Run.

Looking Good or Feeling The Pain & Suffering?

7. The last 20K of the race was a “battle of will and determination” as the heat of the sun was upon us and I’ve been running and brisk walking for almost 4 hours. The more that I have to bring out those “tips” and lessons learned that I gathered in my past ultraruns. At this point, everything was a “mind game” and consistency of doing what I planned for during my training was the focus in this race. I did not veered away from my race strategy most especially on my hydration/nutrition. On my last 15K, I started to take “salt tablets” and drowned them in my throat with ice cold Mountain Dew or Classic Coke. This gave me more strength and consistency with my pacing in my runs and brisk walking!

Few Steps Before The Finish Line

8. I finally reached the Finish Line, in front of the Cebu Provincial Capitol Building, with a time of 6:42:20 hours (Official Time). I finished with a ranking of #38 out of the 162 finishers. Based from my GF 305 data, the total distance is 50.23K; an average pace was 8:00 minutes per kilometer; a total ascent of 1,860 meters and a total descent of  2,695 meters.

9. I consider this race as a mountain trail run because of the profile/elevation of the whole course. I am satisfied with the result of my training since I finished the 1st CAMSUR Marathon wherein I started to incorporate more intensity to my training runs and making my selected weekend races as my performance evaluation/test runs. In conclusion, I was able to attain what I have aimed for in this ultra run.

10. And talking about going “hardcore” and going up to a higher level of ultrarunning, I advise that for those who have future plans in joining ultra trail runs in the “WEST”, I highly recommend you to follow and train for the following finishing times in the following ultra distances races:

50K—-sub-7 hours

50 miles/80K—-sub-11 hours

100K—–sub-14 hours

100 miles/160K—-sub-30 hours  

11. Thanks, Jonel, FrontRunner Magazine, CERC & Cebu Runners, Volunteers, and the CENTCOM, AFP Officers & Staff for the experience and hospitality. Congratulations to all the Finishers and Race Organizers for a job well done!

(Note: Thanks for those who posted the above pictures at Facebook)


UNILAB 32K @ The Fort/ 4:30 AM November 21, 2010

1. This is my first official 32K Run. I treated this run as my Evaluation Run after trying to put more intensity to my training runs since after a slow finish at the 1st CAMSUR Marathon. The plan was to run an average pace of not slower than 5:30 mins per kilometer  for the whole race. With this plan in mind, I should be able to finish the race in exactly 3 hours with some cushion of 4 minutes for the uphills and slower pace in approaching the Aid/Water Stations.

2. I memorized the target split times for my 10K and half-marathon which I would like to attain during the course of race. I should be able reach the Km #10 mark in 55:56 minutes and then 1:57:59 hours at the half-marathon point (Km #21). I started at a slow pace at 5:45 to 5:49 mins per km on the first 2 kilometers until I was able to pass the Km #3 mark. From there I slowly increased my pace up to 5:35 mpk. I was happy to glance at my watch as I crossed the Km #10 mark in 56 minutes—4 seconds slower from the target split time!

On My Way Back To The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of Bea Hernandez)

3. Running from Km #10 up to Km #21 was so insignificant that I was not focused to what I’ve been passing along the way. This is the tendency if you are running on a familiar ground for the past 3 years where you are only concerned on your time and on your running form. Translation: Running at the Fort-Kalayaan-Lawton-Bayani is already boring!!! I reached the half-marathon point at 1:56:18 hours and I was almost 2 minutes faster than my target split time for the said distance. From this point, I knew already that I could finish the race better than what I have planned for. I just have to maintain an average pace of 5:30 mpk for the remaining 11 kilometers to have a sub-3-hour finish.

4. From Km 21 point onwards, my watch was registering an average pace of 5:20-5:23 mpk and I felt I was still strong. However, I had to make a 10-second “brisk” walk as I approached the Water Station on my last 2 kilometers before the Finish Line due to an impending “cramps” on my left calf muscle. I was a good decision as the pain slowly disappeared when I started to walk. I regained my running form as I continued my run but I knew I had slowed down a little as I tried to manage the coming of my leg “cramps”. I had to drink lots of sports drinks as I passed on the last few Water Stations.

Near The Finish Line (Photo Courtesy of John Jeffrey Avellanosa)

5. Finally, I was able to cross the Finish Line in 2:53:38 hours (based from my GF 305) and was able to register an average pace of 5:25 minutes per kilometer! Mission accomplished! I was satisfied with my performance and I’ve started to bring back my speed in my road races after following the Jack Daniel’s Running Formula. My MILO’s Half-Marathon performance last November 7 with a time of 1:47:45 hours (average pace of 5:07 mpk) would also attest that I am on the right training. 

6.  My fast time was due to the great improvements of Coach Rio’s Race Management in decongesting of runners in narrow parts of the route; efficient marshals & good traffic management; long tables and lots of water cups; bananas; and sports drinks for the runners. Familiarity of the route is also a big factor for a faster time. Above all, the early start of the race, cooler temperature, and the overcast sky contributed much on my better performance in this race. Congrats, Coach Rio for a perfect race!

Thinking Aloud

  1. I really don’t know if you have seen the Billboard wishing our National Athletes to the on-going ASIAN Games displayed along the NLEX Viaduct (south bound). It has a banner that states, “Quest For Glory”. How I wish that the said Billboard could have been displayed along EDSA. At present, we have garnered two (2) gold medals for Billiards and Bowling. With Athletics Events to start tomorrow, I hope our team Philippines would be able to add more gold medals on the track and field events.
  2. Is it true that our National Dragon Boat Team was not allowed to join the Team Philippines in the ASIAN Games because of an allegation of a top POC official that our team is using sports-banned substances or doping? I wonder if our athletes were clinically tested to determine if the allegation is true. Our boys, being consistently winning world competitions, missed an opportunity to win Gold Medals for the Dragon Boat events as it went to the Indonesian Dragon Boat Team. I hope this is not a case of the so-called, “crab mentality” among us. “Sayang yong tatlong Gold Medals!” Continue reading “Thinking Aloud”

Result: 4th PAU “T2N” 50K Run

Congratulations to the Winners and Finishers! And to all the Support Crew who were the “movers/pushers & inspiration” of the runners to cross the Finish Line! To those who finished their first ultra run, PAU welcomes you to the ultrarunning community.

4th PAU 50K Run
Tagaytay City – Nasugbu, Batangas
1 Hermogines Olvis 4:11:56 Champion (Male)
2 Sunday Ombrog  4:15:15 1st Runner-up (Male)
3 Christopher Iblan 4:25:28 2nd Runner-up (Male)
4 Alfredo Ocampo 4:32:22  
5 Arnold Dimasuhid 4:32:23  
6 Gregorio Ocampo 4:39:35  
7 Junrox Roque 4:44:15  
8 Rodel Gajol 4:51:25  
9 Wilnar Iglesia 4:57:34  
10 Manolito Anyaya 4:57:35  
11 Armand Fernando 5:01:25  
12 Marcos Lontoc 5:01:53  
13 Edison Tocson 5:08:18  
14 Eric Bullena 5:10:47  
15 Alfred Delos Reyes 5:14:18  
16 Edwin Gajol 5:14:43  
17 Dionisio Manzano 5:14:45  
18 Godfrey Gozo 5:21:00  
19 Jovani Hernandez 5:21:32  
20 Joel Korea 5:21:33  
21 Saturnino Camangonan 5:22:14  
22 Dindo Diaz 5:23:30  
23 Chito Vegim 5:24:50  
24 Jose Dueñas 5:26:58  
25 Vergelio Leona 5:28:08  
26 Francisco Lapira 5:28:15  
27 George Dolores 5:28:48  
28 Jerry Adriano 5:28:52  
29 Oscar Sañez 5:29:18  
30 Roel Olimba 5:32:05  
31 Vener Roldan 5:32:35  
32 Graciano Santos 5:34:24  
33 Cristina Narvaez   (F) 5:35:50 Champion  (Ladies)
34 Mark Adrian Hernandez 5:36:38  
35 Sandy Alentajan 5:38:32  
36 Celma Hitalia    (F) 5:39:02 1st Runner-up (Ladies)
37 Albert Henson 5:39:58  
38 Patrick Winceth Alcomendas 5:40:44  
39 Mark Anthony Rodica 5:40:46  
40 Karen Kate Pascual  (F) 5:41:04 2nd Runner-up (Ladies)
41 Ernesto Abas 5:42:14  
42 Jeremiah Isip 5:43:45  
43 Allan Bandiola 5:43:50  
44 Joey Baladad 5:44:35  
45 Christine Ferrera  (F) 5:45:15  
46 Christian Oting 5:49:02  
47 Bong Bernadez 5:49:03  
48 Ceasar Abarientos 5:51:20  
49 Roberto Delos Santos, Jr 5:51:54  
50 Roberto Reyes 5:52:00  
51 Jay Chavez 5:52:50  
52 Frederick Gabriel 5:53:15  
53 Allen Gaspar 5:54:45  
54 John Jeffrey Avellanosa 5:56:48  
55 Ramgel Marquez 5:57:13  
56 Ysmael Ilagan 5:58:13  
57 Russel Pata 5:58:49  
58 Mel Severino 5:58:52  
59 Ria Go Tian  (F) 6:00:54  
60 Ric Cabusao 6:00:55  
61 Moses Moreno 6:03:50  
62 Alexander Macalintal 6:04:18  
63 Jose Cando 6:08:05  
64 Rufino Morimonte 6:08:07  
65 Mark Salvador 6:12:48  
66 Gil Brazil 6:13:12  
67 Francis Andrew Santiago 6:16:22  
68 Edilberto Yonzon 6:17:26  
69 Jerome Cartailler 6:17:45  
70 Ian Colendra 6:17:50  
71 Victor Ting 6:21:34  
72 Michael Fabian 6:21:36  
73 Chito Carreon 6:23:10  
74 Enrico Tocol 6:24:40  
75 Odessa Coral  (F) 6:24:50  
76 Leo Tugade 6:26:10  
77 Michael Santos 6:26:11  
78 Paul Amerigo Pajo 6:28:40  
79 Junn Besana 6:28:48  
80 Vincent Ocampo 6:30:22  
81 Nelson Mallillin 6:32:04  
82 Jose Erickson Targa 6:32:15  
83 Ferdie Cabiling 6:32:24  
84 Joshua Suarez 6:32:30  
85 Reginald Santos 6:33:18  
86 Jael Wenceslao 6:33:48  
87 Jag Irasga 6:37:10  
88 Christian Paul Forbes 6:37:20  
89 Ian Lim 6:38:12  
90 Bob Castilla 6:39:06  
91 Andy Reyes 6:39:07  
92 Jonathan Sy 6:39:22  
93 Ernesto Jose 6:40:14  
94 Arlito Masamoc 6:41:02  
95 Macky Coronel 6:41:34  
96 Conrado Teodoro 6:41:56  
97 Joseph Baltazar 6:45:30  
98 Rodel Montejo 6:45:32  
99 Gil Ocampo 6:46:43  
100 Ronilo Nabong 6:48:52  
101 Andrew Llanes 6:50:50  
102 Emma Alvarez  (F) 6:52:18  
103 Crisanto Ubungen 6:52:19  
104 Xerxis Tan 6:53:30  
105 Raymund Renato Canta 6:55:56  
106 Raul Roco 6:59:02  
107 Grimaldo Anecito 6:59:03  
108 Vans Camannong 7:00:42  
109 Ma. Roxanne Catolos  (F) 7:02:45  
110 Joseph Soriao 7:03:25  
111 Ronald Perez 7:03:42  
112 Fernando Cabañero 7:03:43  
113 Benedict Meneses 7:05:22  
114 Emerson Go Tian 7:06:42  
115 Jojo Berug 7:08:55  
116 Junar Layug 7:09:09  
117 Blas Ople Tiangco 7:11:44  
118 David Buban 7:13:18  
119 Carlo Serrano 7:13:34  
120 Christopher Ng 7:15:34  
121 Paolo Lukban 7:15:35  
122 Wilfredo Aga, Jr 7:15:36  
123 Cristina Cunanan  (F) 7:15:42  
124 Victor Viola 7:16:26  
125 Raymund Suarez 7:17:34  
126 Wesley Noel Oraña 7:17:59  
127 Ronaldo Sulapas 7:19:59  
128 Philippe Arenillio 7:20:02  
129 Rosgar Apolinario 7:20:58  
130 Christopher Montaos 7:23:32  
131 Sherwin Tommy Botabara 7:24:26  
132 Edwin Rara 7:30:10  
133 Roselle Dadal  (F) 7:34:08  
134 Marlin Marilag 7:38:14  
135 Leynard Gripal 7:41:05  
136 Macky Delima 7:41:40  
137 Wayne Plymale 7:42:45  
138 Lorie Padua 7:43:34  
139 John Paul Bautista 7:46:45  
140 Vivencio Soriano 7:54:20  
141 Mark Anthony Alindada 7:57:20  
142 Ayette Padua  7:57:36  
143 Jimmy Ong 7:57:38  
144 Harold Lorette 7:59:18  
145 Carl Balagot 7:59:20  
146 Lemuel Narcise 8:00:20  
147 Emiliano Burgos 8:05:10  
148 Ellen Abegail Castillo  (F) 8:05:43  
149 Mark Fer Castillo 8:06:27  
150 Alfred Paul Paiso 8:06:28  
151 Samuel Narcise 8:10:18  
152 Eddie Yruma 8:23:00  
153 Aaron Anievas 8:38:04  
154 Angel Henson 8:38:05  
155 Kris Nuñez 8:49:20  
156 Roy Tan 8:50:42  
157 Norberto Mortel 9:30:05  
158 Arturo Virata 11:13:30  
159 Princess Duterte  (F) 11:13:32  

Food Experiment

Yesterday afternoon, I made an experiment with regards to food/nutrition strategy in my running workouts. The primary purpose was to find out where exactly would I need to replenish my food intake during a half-marathon distance run.

Thirty minutes before my 21K run, I ate one plate of Pancit Canton and drank one glass of water with it. After a short warm-up and stretching exercise, I started my run. It was already dark as I started my run at 6:00 PM. I did my run at the 7K loop inside Camp Aguinaldo. My first two kilometers averaged a pace of 5:47 mins/km until I was able to lower the pace up to 5:30 mins/km until I reached my first water pit stop after completing one loop.

On my second loop, I was still maintaining an average pace of 5:30-5:34 mins/km and I was in my strongest run for the night during the 2nd loop. However, after taking my 2nd water pit stop at the end of the 2nd loop, I started to slow down despite the fact that I was running faster on the downhill portions of the route. I finished my 3-loop run inside the camp in 2 hours & 26 seconds. I just simply ran too slow on my last three kilometers. I ended my run with an average pace of 5:42 mins/km.

After the run, I ate one sports bar and drank the remaining water I had which is about half liter. After some cool down and stretching exercises, I did not feel any soreness on my legs.

With this particular workout, I found out that I could eat a heavy snack at least 30 minutes before starting my workout and I felt strong in my run. If not for the darkness in some portions of the route, I could have increased my pace and have more confidence on the landing of my feet on the ground. Although the roads inside the camp are well-paved, there are portions that are not even or flat.

In addition, there is a need for me to replenish my nutrition and take some food before I hit the 14-Kilometer mark or maybe after running for 12 kilometers. A Sports Bar and/or Sports Gel would be a good source for this but I need to experiment it on my next run. I will try also to bring some fresh fruit/banana and find out if I could still maintain my speed during my running workouts.

With regards to water/hydration, I have already trained my body to sustain my average pace within the duration of at least 30 minutes without taking any water. In some of my running workouts, I did not have any problems with hydration within a distance of 7-10 kilometers. However, my workouts were done early in the morning or early in the evening.

If you are preparing for a race, you have to train your body on matters pertaining on the food you are taking in during the race. Remember that “solid” food is the source of your power and energy needed to finish the race.

Guidelines For “T2N”

Guidelines For T2N (Tagaytay to Nasugbu) 50K Run

  1. This is a solo race. The race will start at 5:00 AM of Sunday, November 14, 2010 in front of the People’s Park in Tagaytay City. The Finish Line of the race is INSIDE Plaza De Roxas in Nasugbu, Bataan. Plaza De Roxas is the Municipal Public Park located in front of the Nasugbu Municipal Hall. (Note: Runners have to pass in front of the Jollibee and then turn right at the next street and then enter at the Gate of Plaza De Roxas.)
  2. Runners are allowed to have their support vehicle & crew but they are not allowed to have pacers. (Note: Pacers should be registered runners). Support Vehicle should “leap-frog” from their runner/s and “shadowing” the runner is strictly not allowed. There is no prescribed number of runners to be supported for each support vehicle.
  3. Runners’ Bib should be pinned and displayed in front of the runner’s apparel.
  4. Runners are highly encouraged to bring and wear with them their respective hydration system/belt during the race. We have a limited number of water stations/aid stations along the route.
  5. The Water/Aid Station are located at the Km #20 and Km #40. These stations will also serve as the runners’ drop bag stations. Runners without support vehicles are encouraged to prepare their drop bags and they will be brought to these Aid Stations. Drop Bags should be properly marked with the name of the runner, race bib #, and Km # point where the bags will be “dropped”. (Note: As the race will progress, we will also place water stations at Km # 15, #30, & 45)
  6. Cut-off time is eight (8) hours.
  7. Runners are encouraged to stay on the left side of the road, facing the incoming traffic. Some parts of the route are narrow and runners should always be attentive and vigilant of vehicles, in front and at their back.
  8. Runners are also encouraged to run in single file as the road will be busy with the traffic of vehicles.
  9. Ipods, MP3s, and “wires” are allowed. However, users should be attentive with their surroundings.
  10. As in the past PAU races, every finisher will receive individual memento/trophy, certificate of finish, and Finisher’s T-Shirt. Results of this race will be included in the rating/ranking among PAU runners for 2010.
  11. Integrity of the Race shall be upheld and respected.
  12. The spirit of ultra running is highly encouraged. Finish the race, encourage/help one another, develop friendship before, during & after the race, and have an ULTRA FUN!

Good luck!


MILO Half-Marathon/Tarlac City/November 7, 2010

I got qualified for the MILO Marathon FINALS to be held on December 12, 2010.

I registered for the MILO Provincial Qualifying Half-Marathon Race in Tarlac City which was scheduled yesterday, Sunday, November 7, 2010. My plan was to use the MILO Half-Marathon as my Performance Evaluation Test for the training adjustments I’ve made after my 4:39+ hours Marathon Finish at the CAMSUR Marathon last September 24th.

Training Adjustments

After comparing my past marathon times for the past years, I was able to make some conclusions and observations about some flaws in my training since I’ve started doing ultramarathon races. I decided to return to my training workouts during the year 2008 and strictly followed Jack Daniels Running Formula. One of the salient points in my adjustments is to make sure that my “Easy Runs” should have an average pace of 5:45 minutes per kilometer and gradually decreasing it by 3-5 minutes every week until I was able to reach 5:12 mins/km pace few days before race day. Obviously, my tempo runs’ and interval training average paces had been adjusted, too!  My tempo runs would average to 4:55-5:10 mins/km pace through my regular 5K tempo run repeats.


After six weeks of consistent training and being focused to my average pace in my workouts, I was able to finish the MILO Half-Marathon in 1:47:47 hours (unofficial) with an average pace of 5:07 mins/km. I still have 12:13 minutes to spare within my qualifying time of 2 hours for the said distance. I think I am in the right track again with my training to become faster and stronger in my future races. I was satisfied with the result of my Performance Evaluation Test on this race.

Hands On

I was surprised to see that there were a lot of runners in the Tarlac City MILO Qualifying Leg. My ultra running friends were also there to include some of the BDM 102 “veterans”. But what made me amazed and impressed was the presence of MILO/Nestle, Phils Executives/Managers who were directly manning the Start/Finish Area making sure that control and orderliness were being followed. MILO’s Andrew Neri and RACE’s Rudy Biscocho were there to see to it that the schedule of activities was being followed on the dot. At the turn-around point (10.5K), I saw MILO’s Pat Goc-ong who was personally handing out ice-cold Gatorade drinks to every runner that approached him. He even cheered each runner! I could not believe my eyes seeing these top executives of MILO/Nestle, Phils., doing such stuffs to the runners! To MILO/Nestle, Phils., my congratulations for another successful MILO event!


I have to admit that this is my first time to be a “legitimate” MILO Marathon FINALS qualifier. In the past, I failed to qualify as I joined the Full Marathon Qualifying Races and failed also when I tried to qualify in the Half-Marathon which was held in my hometown, Laoag City in 2008. It was an accomplishment to be finally qualified to the most prestigious marathon race in the country.

Congratulations to all the Qualifiers!

Before The Race With MILO/BR Singlet
Before Reaching The Finish Line
The "Usual Suspects" (The Young & Old Ones)


Have you ever tried to run a mile on your best effort on an oval track and find out what is your best time?

A mile is a length of a distance which is equivalent to 1,600 meters. It is the English system in measuring a distance. Its counterpart in the Metric System is the Kilometer. A Kilometer is equivalent to 1,000 meters. Obviously, a mile is longer than a kilometer by 600 meters.

In the sports of Athletics, a Mile Run is one of the most popular running events done on an Oval Track. A mile run is equivalent to four (4) laps on an oval track. However, in the Olympic Games and in IAAF sanctioned events, the metric equivalent of the mile run which is the 1,500-meter run is the one which is considered as sport event.

Many books had been written about athletes who have run the mile in less than 4 minutes. But I’ve never read any of these books except for the book, “Lore of Running” by Dr Tim Noakes where all the significant runners who broke the 4-minute barrier in the mile run had been mentioned.

At present, the standing world record for the mile run is 3:43.13 minutes by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco on July 7, 1999 in Rome, Italy. For the past 11 years, such record time had never been broken. I am sure some Filipino runners had broken the 4-minute barrier for the mile but I have yet to know the National Record time for such distance by our local runners.

To answer the question that I mentioned above, I have to admit that I’ve been running on the oval track for so many times for the past years but I never thought of trying to set my personal best time on the said distance. Since I’ve set my GF 305 on the metric system, I usually measure the distance I could run in kilometers.

When I was still active in the military service, a 2-mile run was a part of our regular Physical Fitness Test. My best time for the 2-mile run was when I had my military schooling in Fort Benning, Georgia, USA when I timed 12:00 minutes for the said distance. I was then 32 years old. The 2-mile route at the US Infantry School was a flat trail surface. I would safely say that I ran my best one mile in 6 minutes. I wonder what would be my time if I’ve done the 2-mile run on an oval track with a tartan surface during that time.

On my last Physical Fitness Test before I retired from the military service (4 years ago), my time was 14:20 minutes done at the Headquarters Philippine Army Grandstand running/jogging area, which is translated to a 7:10-minute mile.

Three days ago during my 5K tempo run on the oval track, I was able to register a time of 7:40 minutes as I finished my first 4 laps at the oval track. I really don’t consider this as my legitimate best time for the mile because I started with a slow pace on my first lap and started to increase my pace on the 2nd lap and finally maintaining my fastest pace when I was already on my third lap. I wonder how will I perform if start on a racing mode from the very start up to the finish line in a mile run?

I asked my elite athletes if they have timed their best one mile run since they started running and all of them said “Not yet, Sir!”. I am surprised to know that these elite athletes do not mind knowing what their best mile run is. Is this the normal behaviour of our elite runners? Is this an indication that they are not coached and trained properly? No wonder we could not excel in other long distance running events as we could not even excel on the very most basic distance where the training standards in long distance running is based. Coaches would base every training program for his/her athletes from the best time they could finish a mile or 1,500-meter run.

Having said this, I am going back to the “basics” of training the best of my one mile run as part of my aerobic training for the half-marathon, marathon, and ultramarathon training. It’s a crazy thing to do but it is nice to know what your body is capable when you run at your best effort in a 4-lap run on the oval track.

Now, I ask you, “Have you tried running your best one mile run lately?” You can write your comments and I would like to know your best time on the said distance.

Am I Getting Faster & Stronger?

Three years after started blogging religiously about my running workouts, I would like to assess and evaluate myself if I am getting faster or stronger.

Looking back on my past races for the past three years, I could see and feel that I had my fastest times immediately after I’ve retired from the military services. This was due to the fact that I had more time to run and I was focused to improving my best finish time in every race. However, the main factor that was instrumental in my fast times was due to my attendance to our BR “Speed” Training at the ULTRA Oval Track.

I was able to attend at least 3 sessions of “speed” training in every week at the oval track with the close supervision of our coaches. The first session for the week was done on Tuesday evenings. The Tuesday workout consisted of the usual warm-up run of one mile and then stretching exercises. After stretching almost all the muscles involved in running, we were told to do at least six (6) sets of running “drills”. These running drills prepared us to what in store for us for the evening workout.

The main menu of the Tuesday workout was a minimum of eight to ten repetitions (8-10) of 400 meter run with a time of at least 1:42 minutes. We made sure that our last four reps were becoming faster than the average time we had for the first six reps. In between these reps, we had one minute of rest. This rest was followed strictly. After the required number of reps for the day, we were told to do another 30-minute of easy run around the oval after a 3-minute rest from the last 400 meter repetition. After a period of time or months, we were able to finish a maximum of 20 repetitions for the 400-meter run at the peak of our speed training.

On Wednesdays, we do “pyramid” distance speed training. After the usual warm-up, stretching exercises and running drills, we do 3,000-meter, 2,000-meter, 1,000-meter, 2,000-meter, 3,000-meter runs at our 90% effort with 3-minute rests in between distances, in that order. This was followed with a 30-minute easy run.

On Fridays, we do 100% effort of the ¾ distance (75%) of the road race we are going to compete for the weekend or on Sunday. However, the distance we have to race for the weekend should not exceed a half-marathon race.

On weekends, if there are no scheduled road races, we do long slow distance runs, maintaining at least 85% of our effort.

These weekly workouts made me break my PRs every time I joined road races. Results? I was able to  register a 3:48+- hour marathon finish time on the later part of 2008. And later in 2009, I have registered another 3:58+-hour finish at the Subic International Marathon. These best times in my Marathon Races were the results of the consistent attendance to the BR “Speed” Training at the Oval Track.

Since I got “hooked” on ultra running events, I tend to slow down and concentrated more on my easy long runs without thinking or knowing the degree of intensity of my training. Slowly, I forgot about those “speed” training workouts and it never occurred to me to try those 3x a week speed workouts. My specific goal in my ultra running events was to finish the race within the prescribed cut-off time.

Whenever I have plans of joining a full marathon race these year, I only need to run at least three (3) long runs that exceed 32 kilometers within the span of two-month preparation and just do some “Yasso 800s” at the oval track at least 2-3 weeks before the scheduled race and all those intensity-filled running workouts were forgotten. However, I always finish my marathon race with a decent time based from the short and lesser-intensity preparation workouts. This kind of approach to my training and goal in every marathon and ultramarathon events kept me away from any kind of running-related injury.

However, after my finish at the CAMSUR Marathon last September, I started to bring back the time-paced and Jack Daniel’s Formula of Running concept in preparation for an ultra running event which I plan to join in the middle of next year. I have to see again that strip of coupon bond where my “target pace” workout was written as my reference in those BR “Speed” Training workouts. After a few weeks of training, I feel that I am slowly regaining my speed and stamina/endurance. I observed this kind of feeling during the Mt Mayon Trail Run last week. I am back again for my race-specific training workouts.

Running "Half-Naked" at the Oval Track

For the past weeks, I’ve been going back to the Oval Track at least 2-3 times a week. The tartan surface is more forgiving to the knees and legs; it is entirely flat; accurately measured; the place has a good air quality; and I could run half-naked under the heat of the sun. I have started eight repetitions of my 400-meter runs two weeks ago and had been doing 3 X 5,000-meter runs as my tempo runs since last week. My target average pace in my 400-meter runs is 1:36-1:40 minutes and my 5K tempo runs has an average pace of 5:00-5:10 mins/km. Most of my speed runs are done at 7:00 AM up to 9:00 AM.

So far, I don’t have any soreness on my legs and I could easily recover. This proves that my leg muscles are becoming stronger due to my past ultra running events and they could withstand the speed training that I am trying to re-introduce to my body system. I may not be faster as compared from the time I was religiously doing and involved in the “BR Speed Training” but I knew that I am stronger this time as I could easily bring back my level of competitive status within a short period of time.

As part of the training, I will be joining again those weekend races as part of my “feedback” or evaluation if I am improving with my finish times. So, if you see me around on these races, you are sure that I will be focused on my strides, my running form, and the goal to be attained for such particular race.

In a few days, I will embark on a multi-day adventure run (again!) for the second time this year. It is my objective to run more kilometers every day and find out how my body recovers from the effort on a day-to-day basis. In my Manila to Baguio Run, I controlled my daily mileage to 50 kilometers. However, with this future plan, I will try to increase the mileage to 60-70 kilometers a day with more intensity (faster pace) this time.

For my age of 58 ½ and after three years of maintaining this blog, I could no longer bring back those finish times when I was in my 30s. But if there is a way I could scientifically measure or translate my finish times as compared when I was younger, I have the suspicion that I am faster and stronger this time.

See you on the roads and trails!

Running "Very Light"